A well-known education institution in Mangalore that has been accused of trying to ban the wearing of burqas by Muslim students on campus has denied the allegations.
The St Aloysius Pre University College that is associated with the 125-year-old St Aloysius Colleges has been accused in a section of the media of secretly introducing a ban on burqas through a clause in college prospectus for the current year that states: Girls are not expected to wear burqa in the classrooms and in the examination halls.
College administrator and principal designate Fr Elvis Lewis,however,argued that the prospectus at no point states that burqas are banned and that media reports have misconstrued the portion extracted from the prospectus.
The PU college has a dress code that is a uniform. Muslim girl students usually wear a head scarf for the classrooms and the examination halls along with their uniforms even if they come to college in burqas. We have not banned burqas but as per university rules during examinations students are not allowed to wear burqas, Fr Lewis said.
Issues like these are very sensitive in Mangalore and we know it. One college was once taken to court after a girl was prevented from wearing head scarf. Out of around 4,000 students in our college,nearly 600 are Muslim and 300 are girls. We are annoyed by the allegations of a ban on burqas. There is nothing in any of our prospectus indicating a ban. Mischief is being played, said Fr Elvis,who claimed to have edited the college prospectus.
The bar on wearing burqas in examination halls has been in existence at the university level for a long time in order to prevent impersonation and malpractices by students,he said.